Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – July 2019
Well you could say it’s just been another one of those freak weather months that has hit our athletes and events around the world. Someone has definitely upset the ‘Weather Gods’ in relation to racing and none more so in this years Tour De France where a stage had to be cancelled mid race due to a freak snow storm. Never have I seen a period of time where racing has been so unpredictable, especially during the summer months.
There was the short heat wave that coincided with Ironman Austria earlier this month raising the lake temperature to 25 degrees C. This resulted in the dreaded non-wetsuit swim which was then backed up with a torrential downpour later in the day. Then only just last week The Outlaw Ironman bike leg was cancelled on race day due to torrential rain and flooding. It seems many of these races would have avoided all of these issues if they had just been one day later.
What was most impressive was the attitude of all our athletes when this happened, this was summed up best in a message I received from The Man, The Myth, The Legend…Tony Peach after he had completed the shortened Swim/Run at The Outlaw Ironman Triathlon on Sunday…
“It is what it is (as they say on Love Island). For me race day is the icing on the cake. I really enjoy the process and being part of the team so it’s all good coach”
I really couldn’t feel prouder of the way all of our guys have dealt with some of the tough hands that were thrown at them over the past couple of months. Many of you have shown great character and resilience, which has been hugely rewarding to see.
Big up to the ‘It is what it is’ crew.
I’ve also seen a lot of slightly depressed athletes this month! Usually caused by what I call “post Ironman blues”. This is something most athletes will experience after such a big build up towards their main event of the year. Take comfort in the fact that it is completely normal to feel like this, but understand it’s just a phase. You will come out the other side of it eventually if you are patient.
The main reason for this is the loss of structure and routine that has guided your training life for so long. Knowing what to do and when to do it helps give many successfully people the routine & direction they crave. This is where you fully appreciate the value of the process you have just gone through. As Tony said, the race really is just the icing on the cake; the true value is in the day-to-day journey you have just been on. You never quite seem to realise how enriching & stabilising it is until it is no longer there.
What’s hugely important to realise is that these post race recovery periods, however uncomfortable, are one of the most important phases of your athletic journey. These phases are implemented to help your mind and body recover from what you have just been through. Never underestimate the toll training in such a focussed way can have on you, it can suck the living daylights out of you without you even knowing it. That’s why you need time out from it. You need to lose the structure for a while and be much more free to do what you want to do and not feel guilty about doing it.
My advice to athletes post Ironman or A race is usually the same…I want you to go away, enjoy yourself, spend valuable time with your loved ones and get a little bit fat. This is precisely what your body and mind will need to help you unwind from the focussed training process. It’s a box that needs to be ticked, you can’t put a time limit on it so embrace it and just go with the flow for a while. You’ll find it quite liberating when you do. This wont happen straight away, so be patient because it takes time to wind down. It’s just like when you go on holiday after a busy work period, you never fully relax until you are a few days or a week or so in.
Use this period as a time for self-reflection and evaluation, but only do it after a number of weeks post race. Rarely do you ever feel the same 4 weeks after your race compared to a week or two after it. You just need to let the emotional dust settle so you can eventually see with clear eyes again. Then what has passed, what is present and what might be ahead will seem a lot clearer.
Rest assured you will know when you are bored of it because you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you the time might nearly be right. You will then be ready for some kind of structure again. The whole process then starts again as you decide on what to do next. Once this is in place the fire will well and truly start to burn inside of you for the next stage of your athletic journey.
Just take a word of warning for when you re-start training again, you need to air very much on the side of caution. Just enjoy the process of getting the body moving again. Find the joy of just being out there in nature feeling that blood running through your veins again. It’s the softly softly approach that will work best.
Before you find performance you need to re-engage with finding the love of just training first and foremost. So lose the numbers and data and just go out there and have some fun. Most importantly don’t beat yourself up because you feel de-conditioned and much less fit, with 4 weeks of steady progressive consistent training you’ll be amazed at how good you will start to feel if you are patient and you take your time.
Just be sure that you “Don’t go in all Factor 50” as they say on ‘Love Island’…not that I’ve ever watched it…(honest).
Team Race News
Huge congrats to the Team Nagi 3 that raced at Ironman Austria earlier this month. This iconic race managed to deliver yet again with a new tougher bike course that included a good 1600m+ of climbing. Big shout out to our guys from Italy Edoardo & Stefano who put in fantastic performances to become Ironmen for the very first time.
- Tash Jackson
- Splits: 1:16:32 swim / 5:44:26 bike/ 3:33:20 run
- Total Time: 10:44:25
- 7th in 30-34 category
- Next up: Dancing on tables
This race performance and stunning new 10min PB on the run was a like putting down a huge piece of the Ironman Triathlon jigsaw puzzle. Once she realises it (ha ha) the fire will be there for the Flashmeister to move her performance to a new level altogether. Watch out 2019.
- Edoardo Mercadente
- Splits: 1:13:41 swim / 5:30:27 bike/ 4:12:39 run
- Total Time: 11:07:43
- 50-54 category
- Next up: Tiramisu, tiramisu & more tiramisu
First time efforts just don’t come much better than this, bravo Edoardo! The dream debut Ironman performance, no more to be said.
- Stefano Lolli
- Splits: 1:33:43 swim / 6:44:38 bike/ 4:32:52 run
- Total Time: 13:05:23
- 45-49 category
- Next up: PA (Parmesan Anonymous)
A huge first time Ironman performance that was fuelled on parmesan cheese and tea (no joke!). If that torrential storm hadn’t hit this would have been even faster again. Small mercy for kind Austrian’s offering tea and shelter on the bike course eh Stefano! Think you’ve finally found that magic distance, onwards and upwards.
- Elvira Stromback
- Splits: 33:50 swim / 2:46:33 bike/ 1:43:26 run
- Total Time: 5:14:17
- 7th/118 in 40-44 category
- Next up: Ironman Sweden
To finish 7th on just 16 weeks of training just shows what this gutsy lady can do. A brilliant performance on such limited training. Imagine what could happen if you gave me 40 weeks Elvira! (Surely that’s not too much to ask?)
The Outlaw Middle Distance/Holkham
- Connie Tram
- Splits: 48:04 swim / 3:21:58 bike/ 2:16:26 run
- Total Time: 6:32:13
- 35-39 category
- Next up: Ironman Copenhagen
A brilliant new PB by nearly an hour over this distance for The Tramster! Huge congrats, yet again it just proves that it doesn’t need to feel good or feel fast to be fast. A real mental challenge this one that you came through with flying colours.
- Simon North
- Splits: 44:42 swim / 3:09:00 bike/ 1:56:01 run
- Total Time: 5:56:36
- 4th in 60-64 category
- Next up: Ironman Sweden
Another brilliant new PB for Simon at this distance after many years of racing. Just missing the podium by a whisker.
- Helen Burton
- Splits: 43:22 swim / 4:02:49 bike/ 3:17:48 run
- Total Time: 8:12:23
- 1st in 65-69 category
- Next up: The Cotswold Classic Middle distance
The days leading into this race didn’t look good for H and then race morning a disaster, a chest infection reared its ugly head. So the time is insignificant, what this lady continues to prove is just how tough and resilient she is. How she managed to finish let alone start I will never know, whatever she has I’m looking to bottle it.
- Louise Bracken-Smith
- Splits: 36:09 swim / 1:30:47 bike/ 52:26 run
- Total Time: 3:02:07
- Team Silver for Jersey / 45-49 category
- Next up: The Triathlon World Champs in Lausanne as part of Team Ireland.
Probably a race experience that Lou would like to forget due to logistics, weather and course design! But she managed to find a way through all of this to put in a brilliant performance representing Jersey to finish 18th. The bonus came with the Jersey ladies team coming 2nd overall to take home a silver medal.
The Fugitive Middle Distance Triathlon
- Chris O’Neill
- Splits: 38:23 swim / 2:50:23 bike/ 1:56:12 run
- Total Time: 5:29:08
- 50-54 category
- Next up: Ironman Italy
A stunning new PB from Chris and just reward for all of the hard work and consistency he’s put in all year. The signs are good for your Italian adventure if you keep this up.
The Outlaw Ironman Nottingham
- Tony Peach
- Total Time: 3:02:07
- Age Category 50-54
- Next up: Several pints of San Miguel
What can I say, the new leader of the “It is what it is” crew showed his class yet again (let’s get the t-shirts made). Maybe some questionable run pacing in there but an A+ for attitude, character & application (and biceps)
The London Triathlon (Sprint)
- Simon Evans
- Splits: 10:37 swim / 34:53 bike/ 20:14 run
- Total Time: 1:10:23
- 1st / 87 in 45-49 category / 5th male overall out of 1546
- Next up: Not sure but whatever it is no one tell Shannon!
2 races and 2 wins for Si, surely coming out of retirement has never felt this good? Outstanding performance.
The London Triathlon (Olympic)
- Rod Hamilton
- Splits: 26:42 swim / 1:03:56 bike/ 45:55 run
- Total Time: 5:29:08
- 5th / 102 in 50-54 category
- Next up: The Outlaw X Middle distance
First race back from Rod post Ironman France and it was a great one. Top 5 on the back of such little training is what I call kicking off the next block in style!
- Mark Nicol
- Splits: 27:10 swim / 1:03:15 bike/ 48:17 run
- Total Time: 2:26:22
- 45-49 category
- Next up: Weymouth 70.3
Huge congrats to Mark for breaking the sub 6 hour 70.3 and sub 2:30 barriers for the very first time this year. Great swimming to boot too!
- Mark Nicol
- Splits: 33:14 swim / 3:00:13 bike/ 2:08:35 run
- Total Time: 5:52:42
- 45-49 category
- Coach sends his sincerest apologies for forgetting this one last month!
UCI Road Race World Championships 2019
- Huge congrats to Mark Richards who has ticked off the 2nd of his big goals for 2019. Mark has qualified to race for Team GB at the road race World Cycling Championships in Yorkshire in September. Great to see all those early morning hard turbo sessions paying off!
This book written by the Team Sky Sports Doctor – Dr Richard Freeman. It’s essentially his insight into what went on behind the scenes at Team Sky. At times makes for a fascinating read because it really is a real warts and all account. The levels they went to to provide the ultimate support to their riders was extraordinary combined with their constant pursuit of innovation.
It is also clearly his chance to get across his version of the all of the most controversial events that have surrounded Team Sky over the past few years. Unfortunately he was the cause of some of these issues, he presents his case and gives an insight that is far from what the media has portrayed it to be.
Team Nagi Athlete Interview – Edoardo Mercadente
Name: Edoardo Mercadante
Age: 52 (shortly)
Star sign: Leo
Years in triathlon: 6 years / excluding injuries, around 3 years
Occupation: European Equities Portfolio Manager
In another life you would have been a..?
A mountain guide.
And the one after next, Julian’s coach
Who is your athletic alter ego?
Doug Coombs – a pioneer of extreme skiing
Favourite training session:
Low cadence / “High” power turbo session
Least favourite training session:
Long treadmill run with no music
Favourite training track (music!):
Currently “Under the Cover of Darkness” by The Strokes. Otherwise “Maniac” by Michael Sembello – great when pushing hard
Dune from Frank Herbert
Favourite training venue/location:
Alta Badia valley in the Dolomites
Favourite race experience:
I have several mantras for each discipline. The most colorful ones are on the bike of which my current favourites are: “shut the f… up” referred to my head, “you are only at 40%” from David Goggins, “count! count! count!” when I am really struggling and many others. Strangely all in English and not in Italian or French.
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be & why?
Benjamin Graham – the father of value investing and security analysis; Alex Zanardi – for his constant positive attitude and achievements in spite of great adversity; Doug Coombs – to discuss about perfect ski lines and snowpacks.
Training hours per week:
You’ve just successfully completed your first Ironman in Austria just a few weeks ago with a brilliant debut performance, what were the key elements that lead to race day success for you?
The racing plan that Julian forced me to write. It made me realize how grateful I was to be able to complete my first IM (and first marathon) and second triathlon ever after years of struggling with my Achilles’ tendon. And one of the mantras during the run was “Gratitude”.
What are your training & race goals for 2020?
Staying healthy whilst continuing to build up my running stamina and speed and getting more race experience (so far I have only signed up to IM Nice 2020)
New Feature: Guess who?
Turns out she always wanted to be superhero
It was all about fast living from an early age for this Team Nagi tough guy. What he loses in his ability to swim in a straight line in open water he more than makes up for in awesome biking and running power. He hasn’t changed a bit in 50 years (lol)
Little Angel or bundle of trouble….Hmmmm. Who’d have thought this fresh faced little thing would one day turn into a 2 x Ironman World Champion?
Team Nagi out & about
Welcome to the team new girl – Ellie Bishop! One to watch for the future
Don’t our ladies brush up well, although if that’s a shot glass Connie will be in big trouble!
Now that what I call a multi-tasking. Dr Remi foam rolling, whilst wearing a cycling bandana, watching the Tour De France…mid surgery!
I’ll call this creation ‘Emptying the tank’, no sight makes a Coach happier :+)
Tash to Coach…”What can I buy Tony Peach for so kindly lending me his bike box” …Coach replies “A new diamond studded leopard skin thong?”
If he’s not watching it in work, he’s actually there! #RemidoesLeTour
Before & after, hmmmm not sure if there’s actually much difference…looks like both just sprayed themselves with water and had a good old gas for an hour #guiltyascharged
When in Denmark…”before you stack it on on the rocks!” #connieism
(Before) Rod fresh faced and raring to go in Copenhagen
(After) Rod chaperoning Connie around the Ironman Copenhagen bike course. Nothing beats a recovery drink and an episode of Love Island post ride.